14 Jan 2008

Sri Lankan refugees off to Australia

6:15 pm on 14 January 2008

The first of 75 Sri Lankan refugees detained on Nauru are expected to be resettled in Australia this week.

The men were granted refugee status in September, but are still held on Nauru.

The Sri Lankans are the last group in Australia's offshore detention centre on Nauru, which the new Labor government vowed to close.

21 of the men are now preparing to travel to Australia, while the remaining 54 refugees are expected to be resettled in the coming weeks.

There are seven other Sri Lankans on Nauru and the decision on their status is pending.

One asylum seeker was refused a refugee status, while six others face criminal charges in Nauru over the alleged sexual assault of a Nauruan woman.